Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Wharf Road Lanes (Lorong)

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong 3, 2006

Just when you thought we are done with Wharf Road, let us not forget the joys of traversing the grid of lorong (lanes in Malay) between Wharf Road and Central Road blocks. Interestingly, the numbering sequence of Wharf Road shops and the lorong are reversed. Starting from the existing police station, you have Block 4 & 3 with Lorong 1 in between, then Block 3 & 2 have Lorong 2 and Block 2 & 1 have Lorong 3. Block 1 has No.1-5 Wharf Road.

I forgot to note down the Lorong for each picture so correct me if I'm wrong. I think the above is Lorong 3 leading to the former Ming Sin 明星 restaurant at No. 1 Central Road (now a Traditional Chinese Medicine shop).

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong 1, 2006

The lanes were not paved until the mid-late 70s. The lanes were convenient shortcuts between Repok Road, Central Road and Wharf Road. Kids could be seen playing marbles with holes dug into the earth. People played badminton in these alleys too.

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong, 2006.
Lorong between Wharf Road and Central Road.

Cathay cinema's former location at the left.

Repok Road at the end (find Payang Puri hotel block).

In the 60s, there were only bucket toilets and there's a metal flap behind each shop for the night soil man to lift up to collect waste in the wee hours of the night. You have to salute this gentleman for his great service to Sarikei. He used to stay in a wooden attap house in front of St Anne's school. He might be poor and his daughter is mute but he and his happy family could be seen relaxing at their verendah in the evening in the 60-70s. Flush toilets were introduced in the 70s and the flaps were removed and the holes sealed.

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong, Block 3, 2006.Backside of No.15 Wharf Road.豐昌, Fong Chang grocery store.

This is the best preserved backside of all Wharf Road shops. Find the classic hearts shaped petals that formed flowers for the balcony. In the old days, laundry were hanged out to dry (with wooden pegs) in the balcony and plants and pet fishes were reared there in big China urns Those China urns were used to import pickled and salted vegetables, century eggs, etc.

Now find the slim chimney that no Santa could ever get in. That's the outlet for a huge wood fired stove on the ground floor kitchen and it's usually made with clay. The wood came from the wooden crates from the grocery stores. The back doors were always unlocked in the 1960s-70s simply because everyone knew everyone in town. You could walk through any back door into the kitchen that usually had chicken, fighting cocks and ducks in cages. Then you would walk past the dining area into the shop front to do your shopping and greet the towkay (Chinese businessman) with "Have you eaten?"

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong 2, 2006

Lorong 2 will lead you past the staircase leading to the Lok Kee brothel on the 1st floor which still exists. Inevitably you will succumb to your curiosity and sneak a peek up the stairs of the oldest profession in the world. Lok Kee 綠記冰室 was actually the name of the kopitiam (coffeeshop) below that sold great chendol in the 1960-70s. The hotel was actually named 环球旅馆 (Huánqiú).

In the 1960-70s, the Yip family who used to stay at Block 4 Wharf Road made the best soy bean drink in town. The family of all girls, 1 lad and the mum did their delivery of soy bean drinks (in glass bottle and cork) at the back doors of the shops early in the morning by bicycle. Got milk? No, only fresh and healthy soy bean drink. It's sad to note that my friend's mum had passed away this year.

Sarikei Wharf Road Lorong 1, 2007

These dilapidated windows are our windows to the past.


Lidasar said...

In the early days you could see many fighting cocks tie to the ground and some time the towkeys will gamely fight their cocks to find out how their cocks fare. The back alleys are a lot livelier in the 70s after the toilets were converted to flash toilets and also when the alley was still unpaved. That was the place full of excitement for the children like playing marbles, rubber band "target"”and when the shops are having renovation going on the children will play sand balls with sand left behind the shop. Alleys are also where mahjong kaki have to pass by to the 2nd level mahjong den at Ming Sin 明星. When the west Malaysian soldiers are back from duties and in town the alley leading to Luk Kee was unusually busy.

Let us not forget our Iban's contribution to Sarikei and today I will tell you a little story about old Ibans warriors.

Under the Brook's administration Penghulus & Kapitans were appointed to represent their respective people and as Sarikei is made up of two rivers running on each side the appointment was make for one Penghulu to represent each river.

In the old days there were many long houses and each long house had a Twai-Rumah-Panjai to represent their long house but two warrior stand out among all of them. Those early days in the 1930's Penghulu Ah-Nin was made to represent Sugai Neylong and Penghulu Eman to represent Sugai Sarikei. Penghulu Ah-Nin was the Twai-Rumah-Panjai of Sugai Rusa where as Penghulu Eman was the warrior from Sugai Payong.

Penghulu Ah-Nin always wear his full warrior outfit to town, wearing silat & a coat given by the Raja with decorated colours plus feathers and always carriers the symbol of power and authority a Kayan sword. Wearing Silat was using a long piece of cloth covering the groin, those days it was the most common outfit for Ibans men and the ladies wear Sarong but topless. The Penghulu cut their hair the old Iban warrior style, fondly known as the Yakak-Tow (coconut head style). When on official both will appear wearing the full warrior outfit completed with Silat and Kayan sword.

Penghulu Eman could be the 1st Iban ever been to China, he was a good friend of the big boss Mr. 林 of the Hokkien shop 順發 Soon Huat and together they make a trip to China in the 1930s. Even the great Temenggong Jugah only managed to follow Tun Razak to China 40 years on in the early 1970s. Together with Mr. 林 they are a great pair of cock fighting kakies. In the 1950s Penghulu Eman also invested in shop lot, he bought half a shop lot at the last unit last block at Central Rd that is closes to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The shop was occupied by a Hakka dentist. Penghulu Eman was childless and understands he adopted two Foochow girls as his daughters.

It would be great if we can have some Ibans visitor to this blog to add on the comment of the two old warriors of the 1930s - 1950s, photos of the two warriors would be great and who is holding Penghulu Ah-Nin & Eman sword now?

Daniel Yiek said...

Oh yes, those pile of sand in the alleys. Kids loved to play pranks on other kids. The favourite is "The Trap" (chee kwang) where the kid dug a hole into the sand, put a piece of newspaper over the hole and then lightly sprinkle sand over the paper. The next kid to come along to the sand pile would step into the hole when the paper gave way! Those were the days when kids innovate with imagination though there's no money to buy toys.

Kanga said...

Back alley access was commonly used if you wanted to return home after late movies at night. The front door of the shops would normally be closed by 9:00 pm and 2nd show normally finished close to 11:00 pm. So back door access was popular if you stayed in shophouses. Don't forget that for boys & men, back alley also double as quick convenience at night or when no one was watching!

Philip said...

I remember "The Trap". Use to trap my cousins especially. Yes, the back door is usually left unlock. Ya, the charcoal burning smell still fresh to me. I used to help my grandmother blow the air to lighten up the charcoal using a mide steel tube. I learned cooking rice using charcoal. Anyone knows how to cook with charcoal? I still remember the soil man and his mute daughter. It is really a humbling experience.I remember also that when it rain heavy, the drain at the kitchen usually get flooded. On a few occasion (yes, a few times), snake appeared!

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